Russia thrashes Kazakhstan in Bandy World Cup opener
All the bandy-playing nations of the world have gathered in Moscow for the 30th World Championship, with Russia scoring 14 goals to entertain the home fans in an opener against Kazakhstan.
The sport – which is more like football on ice – is dominated by the Russian team.
The 2010 World Bandy Championships had initially been cancelled due to financial problems, but then went ahead after Moscow agreed to host it. In addition, bandy will be the demonstration sport at the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014.
In Moscow, the opening match was contested between the national teams of Russia and Kazakhstan.
In Russia, bandy is known as “Russian hockey”, which is of no surprise, because the national team has won the championship 19 times.
The crowd showed great enthusiasm at the new sport center in Moscow’s Krylatskoe, which was almost full.
The main clash in the championship will be between the two most high profile opponents – Russia and Sweden. Sweden is the current world champion, and the Russian side is determined to get revenge for last year's defeat to them.
The strong showing from the Kazakh side acted as a good warm-up for Russia, who made an electric start – breaking the deadlock just three minutes in, and then adding another goal ten minutes later.
Kazakhstan countered and managed to score. Although they had thought they were back into the game – 2-1 half-way through the first 45 minutes – the Russian side soon rallied and the score was 4-1 by half-time.
Russia dominated in the second and gave no leeway to the visitors. The Kazakhstan team was simply blown away by their superior opponents.
Russia's forwards showed brilliant technique, scoring great goals through individual efforts. Pavel Ryazantsev was the key man in attack, scoring five goals.
Kazakhstan was completely destroyed, with the final score line 14-2.
“It was our first match and we were worried a little. The stadium was full and we wanted to show nice hockey. Not everything was good in the first half. We hadn’t played together for a long time. But then we improved our passing and just took pleasure in playing. The Kazakhstan team has the same kit colours as Sweden – and it would be great to beat them by the same score,” Sergey Lomanov, Russia’s forward said.
Russia has started the tournament with a very confident victory, and will most likely seek to keep it that way.